Both Josh Maja and Bali Mumba look set to stay on Wearside after the news broke that SAFC have accepted a £2m bid from Swansea for Joel Asoro. Owner Stewart Donald has praised the attitude of the remaining young guns who will stay and fight for their place at Sunderland: "They will stay. They want to be Sunderland players. I think quite a few will think we could get more for Joel if he goes and some will be in the other camp and think it makes sense. It’s football!! If he leaves - Thought I had done quite well with base price. He is a League 1 player with 1 year left. Played half a season. Has potential but so do all young players."
Meanwhile, defender Tom Flanagan reckons the hard work starts now for the squad as we face up to a battle in League One: “It’s about the hard work,” he said. “With the quality we have in the squad already, before you even add any more players, if we’re working as hard as our opponents we’ll win games. There’ll be dark times I’m sure, times when you lose some, because that’s what League One is like. The key is consistency and building momentum from that. For that you need hard work. I actually think that showed when they came to Burton last season. It was a scrap but they actually did work harder than us. I remember being told that in the dressing room afterwards and when I watched the game back it was obvious. They were all over the second balls and I think we were a bit surprised by that. We probably thought we could bully them like we did some of the bigger teams, I remember one game against Derby and they didn’t know what had"
In other news, Jordan Pickford reckons he would have loved to stay at Sunderland longer, but we sold him, with no add ons. Cheers Bain Pickford said: "I’d been with the club since I was eight and been a Sunderland fan my whole life, so it was just a dream to play for the club. That’s all I wanted to do, growing up. I made my debut away to Arsenal in the FA Cup and I made my Premier League debut away to Spurs, but I just wanted to make my home debut really. That was the big one, walking out at the Stadium of Light and that came against Everton the following season. It didn’t end up well though, as we got beat 3-0. I only played 30-odd games for Sunderland in the end, because I had a couple of injuries and some time on the bench, but it was one of the best things I’ve done. You only get one chance in life to do things and every chance you get, you have to take it and I just wanted to grab that chance with both hands and do my best. I would have loved to play more, but I got my chance and thankfully I took it."